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The Belko Experiment Review
The Belko Experiment
I feel like this needs to be said immediately. The film by no means does anything different or "special" than any other movie with this premise. However, what it does do is borrow elements from other films with the same idea (Saw and Hostel) and places it to good use with a new setting. The Belko Experiment was directed by Greg McLean and written by James Gunn. The film stars Tony Goldwyn (Fitz from Scandal), Adria Arjona, Melonie Diaz, and John Gallagher Jr. The film premiered in 2016 at the Toronto International Film Festival. And was released today by producer Blumhouse Tilt (all you horror fans out there know their great filmography by now) and Orion Pictures.
To start, Belko is a non-profit organization that facilitates the hiring of American workers. They're offices are located in a remote part of Bogotá, Colombia. Belko has a total of eighty, diverse employees under their supervision. Everyone has been at the company for a while now, except for new employee, Dany (Melonie Diaz). The employees have tracking devices implanted in the back of their heads just incase they are kidnapped. A disembodied voice tells them they have limited time to kill others. Or else they will be killed. Eventually, no where is safe and chaos ensues. Survival is key in this story.
Before the killing, we get to know some of the employees in the story. They are from different backgrounds with different personalities. Some are morally sound and others, questionable. Some are old and some are young. Few may be skilled in taking a life. While others may have never even been in a fist fight. Either way, the movie does not discriminate on who meets their untimely end.
The film's core narrative (and purpose actually) is the examination of human behavior. What happens when someone is confronted with their mortality? Will they rise above or turn to cowardice? Are some natural born killers or pacifist? The tension of the film is built up early due to these unfortunate circumstances. Fortunately, the film isn't filled with mindless killing (although there is that, too). Each kill takes a toll on the person. And takes away their mask—exposing them for who they truly are.
Blood & Gore
To its advantage, the movie is extremely bloody and gory. As a result, the kills in the movie are more impactful and gruesome. Heads explode leaving blood splattered everywhere. Brain matter gets stuck to walls. Abdomens are crushed. People are shot in the head. Heads are bashed in (and I think you get the point). The kills do not stop until the last minute. If that doesn't satisfy the most devoted horror fan, then nothing will.
Editing & Music
The quick, precise editing and music enhances the anguish of the victims. Depending on how a person is killed, there is a nice shot of their dead bodies. Or, close-up of their mangled face. Music is played during times of extreme distress which causes great anxiety and make scenes even more terrifying. The film's music also contributes to its setting when Spanish versions of famous American songs play to give the film its Funny Games feel.
Simply put, The Belko Experiment is an entertaining and bloody horror flick. The movie doesn't reinvent the wheel or anything, but it does well what so many other imitations get wrong. However, the film is camp at times. Plus, logic and reasoning don't go well with the narrative. Also, the character development is almost non-existent. However, with its short runtime (1 hour and 28 minutes) it's hard to not recommend this film. The film is filled with anxiety, suspense, blood, and gore. It's not "great" or "bad", just right. If Beauty and The Beast isn't your thing, give this film a try.
The Belko Experiment is rated R and currently showing in theaters.